Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2009-07-04

Correspondence: Aqueel or Michael

I was interviewed on Charlotte Cooper’s amazing blog, Obesity Timebomb. Check it out here!

Also, Friday, July 10th is the Femmes of Power East Coast Launch Party in Atlanta, GA! Check out ME femmeceeing, my oft-mentioned BFF Rachael, Cherry Poppins from Austin, TX, the incomparable Vagina Jenkins, Ms. Stewart and Clover who were all featured in the book. There are rumors Ulrika Dahl, one of the authors, may be in attendance. It’s going to be a PARTY, so get in your car and get over there!
***********
From the myspace mailbag:

TO: Bevin
FROM: Aqueel
RE: hi

Hi, Nice profile 🙂

Just wondering, do u ever flirt with men ?
If not, would you ever flirt just for fun ?

Michael

Dear Aqueel or Michael:

First of all, thank you very much for the compliment on my myspace profile. I’m not shy to admit it took me years and a lot of websites with glaring and obnoxious blingie flash advertisements to find just the right theme that projected a high femme flourish without being hard to read. Aside from aesthetics, I really love language and have worked hard to express just exactly “Who is this Bevin Branlandingham” within the confines of the Myspace writing prompts*. Language is important, Aqueel or Michael, don’t you agree? Evolutionary psychologists have said humans know over 60,000 words. “We have all these words because we like to mate with people who caress us with language.” It’s totally true.

Of course, let’s be real, I’m not using myspace to get ass. Like a lot of people, these days I’m mostly on The Book. The interactivity of The Book means I can passive aggressively flirt with as many as 6 people at one time. And, frankly, that’s my preference. Overt flirting works for me here and there, but I am so hapless and flummoxed when I’m attracted to people often I can’t do any real cutesy flirting and people have no idea that I’m interested. It’s a struggle for me that I am trying to overcome.

Often, I do flirt just for fun, and it’s way more fun to flirt with people I’m not actually interested in. For example, my friend Glenn Marla and I flirt a lot, but he and I have a lot of good boundaries** and it’s just flirting.

IMG_1526

Through our flirting we’ve actually concocted this story about how we were once high school sweethearts at performing arts high school, and we would lie in bed and sing Madonna lyrics to one another and broke up 12 times and one of our songs was “Hungry Eyes” from Dirty Dancing. Even though Glenn is 4 years younger than I am, it’s still fun to imagine how Baby Glenn and Baby Bevin would be in love. Like the Muppet Babies but with fat queers.

So, Aqueel or Michael, to answer your question, I do flirt with men, and sometimes I do flirt for fun.

I’m not sure if there was a subtext to your question, and I’m thinking there probably was because of the smiley face. Emoticons are the building blocks of text-based flirting. So if you sent me that message to try to start something up with me, I’ll tell you now I’m at a full stop because of this quote from your myspace profile.

“I believe in me, I believe in you And you know I believe in love I believe in truth though I lie a lot.” [Emphasis mine.]

Listen up, Aqueel or Michael, I have had way too many scoundrels in the last couple of years to put up with even a second of any of this business. Scoundrels who would lie to my face and yet claim to have a big ol’ truckload of integrity and, like you, believe in truth. I recognize now that people often show you who they really are right away, you just need to learn how to look.

I asked Dan Savage in Episode 88 of the Savage Love Podcast how I could develop a bionic bullshit detector. I really think in the last year I have, and it’s saving me time and energy I’m not spending on scoundrels.

Scoundrely quote aside, the fact is that the rest of your profile isn’t that interesting. Maybe do some caressing of language and upload a few photos and you’ll have better luck in future endeavors.

*I even managed to get a code to defeat their ridiculously rigid gender binaries and sexuality misnomers. Sure, I’ll let someone call me a lesbian when it’s convenient, but ultimately I do identify as queer because I do not acknowledge a gender binary and most of the people I date don’t identify exclusively (if at all) as women.
**Good boundaries are hot.

2009-04-02

Guest Post: Zoe’s Break-up Survival Guide

My mantra for the next few days is “Talk to me after the Fat Girl Flea Market.” I’m the Captain this year, which means I’m doing hundreds of hours of community service to make sure there is money to put on the next NOLOSE conference. If you’re anywhere near NYC this weekend, we have tons of handbags and shoes and plus size clothes. I am a shopaholic but I think even I will need a break from clothing for at least a few days.

In that vein, I am turning to a couple of guest posts. This one comes as a frequent request and I’m pleased to have it available in text form. Please give it up for my BFF, Consiglierie, and the person I can call after a nightmare about my ex (last night! 16 months after it all went down!) who reminds me “This is just an anxiety dream, you’re doing okay.”

–Bevin

When FemmeCast was just getting started, Bevin decided to do an episode about breakups and she asked me to share with listeners my tips for getting over a broken heart. As, at the time, the self-described “Queen of Heartbreak,” I felt well qualified to address this issue.

You see, I had been through three pretty devastating breakups and had learned a lot about heartbreak and how to get oneself through in ways that not only left one wiser and more self-aware afterward but with a little style and grace as well. Then, in April of 2007 I had the breakup to end all breakups and I needed every last resource I had to make it through what would be a long and hard journey through Heartbreak Land. It was during that time I essentially put together what would become something of a patented breakup strategy: a 30-point list of tips on how to make it through.

Shortly after my terrible breakup, no less than three of my besties had awful, devastating and shocking breakups of their own and I was able to pass this list along to them as well.

Since the original air date of Femme-Cast Episode 2, a number of folks have told me how helpful the ideas contained in my list were and a few asked me if I had a written copy. Sadly, after I read that list for broadcast, I threw out my notes. However, just this week a friend going through a very sad breakup of her own made the same inquiry and when I told her I didn’t have a written copy, she transcribed them herself and sent them to me. For this blog entry, I’ve made a few notes next to the original tips in a few places.

And so Bevin and I present them here for you should you ever need them. We encourage you to leave comments with tips of your own so that other readers might benefit from your ideas as well.

Speaking of benefiting from the ideas of others, while without question my friends and therapist helped inform this list in many, many ways, I can say that specific credit is due to media Femme-Cast media correspondent Naima Lowe for numbers 17, 23 and 24.

Thus, without further ado, I present my 30 point breakup strategy.

xoxo,
Zoë Femmetastica

1. Body modification. I interpret this broadly and feel that this can involve anything from a tattoo or piercing to a new haircut.
2. Retail therapy. There are clear dangers here but my belief is that if you have the money saved or the room on your credit card and you can afford to do a little shopping, buy yourself a few nice things that will help you feel better. This can be anything from a movie ticket to a new pair of shoes to a vacation.
3. Cross days off the calendar: It’s a good material marker of the fact that, day by day, you’re getting through.
4. Sob when you feel like it. Don’t hold your feelings in. Doing so will just cause you more trouble later on.
5. Make a variety of mixes: angry, sad, vengeful, take me back, the full gamut.
6. Journal like a motherfucker.
7. Write your ex letters you don’t intend to send expressing everything you wish could have said or wish you could now say to him or her.
8. Pamper yourself with beauty treatments. I personally recommend Lush for this.
9. Call friends when you want to call your ex or are just feeling lonely. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t stay isolated.
10. Don’t listen to those who have timelines for how soon you should be getting over your heartbreak or moving on to a different stage. It’s your process, not theirs.
11. Exercise, even if it’s just taking a walk and getting some fresh air. Do this especially anytime you feel tempted to call, email or facebook stalk your ex. Throw yourself out of the house and move in whatever way you can.
12. Do little letting-go rituals. These can be whatever you want; you can even make them up on the spot.
13. Fill your social calendar but also make time for yourself.
14. Watch TV series on DVD so that you always have something familiar to come home to at night and to occupy yourself with.
15. Be as sad as you need to be whenever you feel sad. There is no need to pretend to be happy in front of your friends or others to make them feel more comfortable with your grief.
16. If your breakup was one that involved a lot of confusion as to what the fuck happened, try not to torture yourself with the question of “why?” You can make up theories, but you have to accept that you’ll never really know why.
17. Make a list for yourself entitled: “The 50 Reasons Why You Just Lost the Best Thing You Ever Could Have Had.”
18. Post this list and other self-help type sayings around your apartment.
19. When you’re ready, pack away all the mementos and artifacts of your relationship. Only keep those things you can’t bear to part with and toss the rest.
20. Know that the constant surprise reminders of your ex will continue for a while, but eventually they do start to fade.
21. Remember the 6-month rule: It really does get better with time.
22. Know that living well is the best revenge.
23. Remember that the ability to be vulnerable is a sign of strength.
24. Even if your learn the terrible news that your ex never really loved you or fell out of love with you, know that you having loved fiercely and with all your heart is, in the end, all that matters.
25. If you’re dealing with a despicable ex, at times you might feel powerless but remember, your ex can’t take anything you don’t give him or her. That is, remember to retain your self composure and grace, even in the face of bullshit. You can always bring the crazy, crying and bitching to your besties later.
26. Never forget you have people in your life who love you.
27. If your ex keeps trying to make inroads into your life or you share common social circles, set all the boundaries you need to be ok and don’t apologize for needing them, to anyone.
28. Do what feels right to you about getting laid. Hook up on Craigslist, go to a sex party, or just stay celibate for a while. It’s your timeline, and don’t feel pressured to do anything other than what feels right for you.
29. Remember the only way out is through.
30. Realize that one of the hardest parts about letting go of a significant relationship is the way in which the letting go can make parts of the self – those parts formed through the daily patterns and rituals of our relationships – seem almost unintelligible after the relationship has ended. Sometimes it’s hard to understand who we are in the world when those aspects that were formed through the daily routine of “we” or even “I in relation to him or her” are now sort of adrift. This part is really hard. It does take time to let go of your life together and that part of yourself that developed in and through the routine of your life with your former partner. But it does get better with time, and we do eventually develop new rituals and senses of self.

Bonus for 2009! If you’re still friends with your ex on any social networking sites, stop that! Unfriend him/her! And for the love of all that is precious in the world, do not read your ex’s blog or cyberstalk him/her. Doing so will just make you feel crazy and gross. Unfriend and then close your browser tab and walk away…

*Also, side note, almost 2 years after her catastrophic break-up, Miss Zoe Femmetastica is in love again. And he’s a really great, amazing 3D magical boy I am ecstatic to have as a boyfriend-in-law. Day by day it really does get better.

2009-02-06

Happy Validation* Day from FemmeCast!

I have entirely mixed feelings about Valentines Day. I think it is sort of bullshit because it puts into sharp relief just how single one is when one is not partnered in a traditional way. Further, it puts all of these weird expectations and pressure on people who are actually partnered to show up for a day that is, ultimately, a made-up bullshit holiday.

On the other hand I LOVE RED AND PINK. It’s sort of how I love Christmas because there’s a glittery sheen and twinkle everywhere you look.

Some point soon I’ll write up my whole experience posing for Substantia Jones for the Adipositivity project (link is naked fat people so be forewarned). In the meantime you can hear her on Episode 7 of FemmeCast. She brought Steel Magnolias to the table and I can’t thank her enough for that.

Anyway, she asked me to select the “partner of my choice” to pose with me at some moment during a lull at the Re/Dress Opening Glam Slam. Since Zoe is my Consigliere, BFF and life partner, I asked her first and she readily agreed, volunteering that we should wear our matching red lingerie dresses and sparkly glitter mary jane heels. Substantia’s response to Zoe being my partner, “As with life, love isn’t necessary, as long as you can muster some lust.”

Here’s the thing. I love Zoe from the deepest parts of myself. She’s been there for me and with me through the darkest moments of my life and understands me in a way few others do. I don’t have to fake love for her. And lust, well, we have longstanding boundaries** about what we will or won’t do, but we also have performed drag together enough that we can play mighty believable lust for camera or stage.

I loved the result so much that I sent it to my mom with a note thanking her for the great legs. I probably should have warned her the link was a little not safe for work.

And Zoe and I did cross a boundary during the shoot. We had to hold a kissing on the lips pose for a lot longer than we’ve ever pecked. Of course, we ended that long moment laughing hysterically and her, like many of my suitors before, covered with glitter from my lipstick. That’s a femme collision for you.

We’re meeting up tomorrow in Toronto for a double date.

*Glenn Marla’s brother came into Re/Dress a few weeks ago and gave us this renaming from some commune he used to live on. It sounded great so now we’re doing a store event for Validation Day.
**Boundaries are such a great thing. Try it sometime.

Powered by WordPress